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Impressed by local response to tornado tragedy

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A couple of weeks ago this area suffered a natural disaster that tested our will and spirit. I simply cannot overstate how impressive our response team has been.

I will never forget how surreal it was to survey the landscape in the days immediately after the tornadoes struck. But within a week most of the debris had been cleared from Wadena thanks to strong civic leadership, thousands of helpful volunteers and a large fleet of dump trucks.

The wreckage really brought out the best in local citizens and it was a clear example of how our officials are prepared to handle just about anything. The way city staff, school officials, local and county law enforcement and fire departments came together so quickly and efficiently reaffirmed my faith in what our communities can do in the face of tragedy.

We are in good hands with the likes of Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden, Director of Emergency Services Scott McKellep, Sheriff Mike Carr and Police Chief Bruce Uselman running the operation. There was a plan in place, everything was organized and they ran the operation incredibly smoothly, from emergency to recovery.

Wadena really should be a role model for other cities and towns to follow wherever disaster strikes next. The plan that was implemented provided a sense of organization as people from all over the region volunteered to lend a hand with the clean-up and recovery effort. There were helpful hotlines set up for tornado victims requesting assistance and also for those who wanted to chip in on the recovery.

But there still is a lot of work to do and the recovery will be an ongoing task and obtaining federal aid will be helpful. Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently sent a letter to President Obama, requesting a major disaster be declared for Minnesota. Pawlenty also requested Individual Assistance and Public Assistance categories for the affected counties.

I will continue to monitor the situation as our recovery moves forward. Other local legislators and I will keep working together with Gov. Pawlenty to make sure this great area continues to receive whatever is necessary to complete the healing process.

Rep. Murdock encourages constituents to contact his new office with input regarding any state legislative issue. He can be reached on the web at www.house.mn/10B and via email at rep.mark.murdock@house.mn. To contact Murdock by phone, call 651-296-4293.

Mail can be sent to Rep. Mark Murdock, 213 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

Rep. Mark Murdock

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